by Steve Prussack
Host of Raw Vegan Radio
Spring is here, and the time is right…for cleaning out our body! I am starting my 14-day juice fast tomorrow. Would you like to join me? There are many reasons we should periodically cleanse our bodies. We are bombarded everyday by harmful substances such as bacteria, pesticides, food additives, and environmental pollutants. These toxins, as well as drugs and chemicals, are filtered out by an internal detoxification process and eliminated through our intestines. The human body can only take so much and our environment is getting worse.
Following World War II, the advent of pesticide use was first designed to increase production of agricultural crops. Pesticides, fungicides and herbicides were initially hailed as a miracle of modern science. Since then, the 55 year old chemical pesticide campaign to free agriculture of pests has contaminated our water, soil, air and food. Exposure to pesticides and industrial chemicals that have proliferated in our environment may overtax our body’s natural capacity to eliminate toxins properly. The chemical content in our world is outrageous. Scientists create over 9,000 man-made chemicals every year, and the number is growing. These chemicals get stuck in our environment as well as the primary cleansing organ of the human body: the colon.
Due to the onslaught of so many unnatural agents, the colon has no information on how to naturally eliminate these chemical substances. As a result, these toxins are often stuck in the body for years.
No matter how healthy we eat, we are subject to living in a toxic world.
And even a strict raw vegan diet is not enough to free your body of these deadly invaders. The body’s first line of defense is a healthy colon. However, our internal detoxification process can breakdown from: overexposure to environmental pollutants in our air, food and water, excessive alcohol and caffeine, high stress, lack of exercise, overuse of antibiotics and prescription medications. When the body’s internal detoxification process breaks down, toxins circulate into the bloodstream instead of being eliminated through the colon, causing illness, digestive ailments and other serious health disorders.
This produces a state of toxicity and cleansing the colon becomes one of the most important steps in detoxification. Traditional healing systems such as Ayurveda, Chinese Herbal Medicine and Western herbalism have always regarded internal cleansing as an integral part of maintaining health. According to Traditional Eastern Medicine, the need for cleansing can manifest itself with symptoms such as fatigue, sluggish digestion, heartburn, bloating, constipation, sinus congestion, skin disorders, joint pain, headaches and many more unnecessary ailments.
Why do we need to periodically cleanse our bodies?
1. Avoid Diseases. Toxins lodge themselves deep within your body weakening organs making you prone to disease. People today suffer from acid reflux, high blood pressure, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, migraines, ADD, ADHD, arthritis, diabetes, heart disease or cancer. It is estimated that over 90% of diseases can be a attributed directly or indirectly to an unhealthy digestive system. As Dr. Bernard Jensen (pioneering naturopathic physician and master herbalist in the 60’s and 70’s) says, “It is the bowel that invariably has to be cared for first before any effective healing can take place.” Up until the turn of the 20th Century, cleansing was an integral part of all natural healthcare systems throughout the world. Only recently, with the over-dependence on allopathic medicine and the denial of our deeper instincts, has cleansing become seen as unconventional, strange, or just plain unnecessary.
2. Stimulate Elimination of Body Waste. A good cleansing program will help restore the body’s balance, eliminate the waste building up and make our systems run much more efficiently. During autopsies, coroners often find colons that are more than 75% clogged with waste matter. This causes the systems that clean our blood and intestinal tracts to back up. Nutrients can’t be absorbed as efficiently and we gain weight, become tired and irritable. Health issues often follow.
3. Pains and Aches Disappear. Toxins become crystallized in your body if not eliminated causing pain. We are all conditioned to take a pain killer and never told that cleaning out our body does the same thing, naturally. 4. Kick Start Your Metabolism. Your body needs a break at least 4 times a year to function properly. A sluggish metabolism fails to help your body absorb the vitamins and minerals it needs to function. Following a cleansing program, your metabolism will become more efficient at generating energy and eliminating wastes. If you continue to adopt a healthy diet and lifestyle as a way of capitalizing on the benefits of detoxification you will be rewarded with feeling and looking healthier for much longer periods of time.5. Lose Unwanted Pounds. Cleansing is the process of releasing and expelling the stored toxins through the elimination organs of your body – the intestines, liver, lungs, kidneys and skin. A good cleanse will help you lose weight by cleansing out your body and ridding unneeded toxic build-up. Researchers have found that as the level of toxins in the body rises, more fat is manufactured to protect the body. Weight gain is a natural by-product of toxin buildup. Removing the toxins from the body allows the body to release the excess fat, resulting in a natural weight loss.
6. Increase Energy and Vitality. Fatigue is a primary symptom of toxicity. Reversing toxicity, by undergoing a process of cleansing, can lead to more energy. Why? Because it liberates the body from an excess workload imposed on the body’s organs, primarily on the liver. When this overload is relieved, it allows every part of the body to function more effectively, which leads to the feeling we call energy. But the need for detoxification filters all the way down to the level of the individual cell. Each cell is like a little factory. It has to have proper supplies coming in, it has to have machinery that works and it has to have the garbage taken out. If any one of those aspects fails, the work of the cell fails. Each cell has a need for proper nutrients coming in, it has a need for a lack of interference within the cell, and it has a need to “sweat” the toxic by-products of its processes. That is the natural process of detoxification at a cellular level.
7. Purify The Liver. The liver is our body’s primary detoxification organ and manufacturing plant. It cleans drugs, alcohol, poisons, bacterial products, various waste products and worn out red blood cells from the body. The liver is also the main factory for amino acids, proteins and fats, and the stores fat and glucose – the energy source for all bodily functions. The liver plays a major role in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins – the nutrients that supply the body with energy. It converts carbohydrates into glucose, removes excess glucose from the blood and makes and stores glycogen – a source of energy between meals. Cleansing your liver can help your body better control its blood sugar levels. The liver is also very important in metabolizing proteins. The liver manufactures amino acids and removes from circulation excess amino acids. It has the ability to dismantle amino acids that are found to be in excess and convert them to other amino acids that may be in short supply.
Your liver removes ammonia – a toxic by-product of protein we consume – and converts it to urea to be eliminated by the kidneys. Liver cleansing can help provide your cells with protein in the form of essential amino acids. The liver also controls the metabolism of fats we eat. It manufactures bile – necessary component for us to digest fat – and stores it in the gall bladder. The liver builds and breaks down fats as needed by the body. A liver cleanse can help you better regulate your body fat. As you can see, a healthy liver is essential to achieving a healthy life. Cleansing and detoxification can help you achieve a healthy liver and may also relieve you of various maladies that are really symptoms of liver health.
8. Gives You Clarity of Mind. While cleansing is an ancient practice, it has never been more essential than today to cleanse and maintain a lifestyle that promotes health and well-being. Physically we are being challenged in ways that we have never seen before on the planet. The soil is depleted of minerals and filled with heavy metals and pesticides; the air is filled with carbon monoxide, lead, and other toxins; the water is purified and nutritionally enhanced with chlorine and fluoride, both carcinogens; and our food is processed, bleached, preserved, and protected by pesticides, also known to be carcinogenic.
Mentally, our culture lives in a state of chronic stress, and depression is on the rise as never before. The fast pace of our modern lifestyle, the demands and expectations of our jobs and relationships, and our disconnection from nature, ourselves, and from spirituality have caused a kind of stressful anxiety, a burden on the nervous system, that depletes us to the core of our bodies, minds, and spirits. In short, we are all stressed, starved, and poisoned, and these states interact to compound their negative effects. If we are starved—nutritionally depleted—we lack the nutrients we need to manage our stress and anxiety. We will also become more vulnerable to the toxins and poisons in our environment, food, water, and news media. If we are stressed, we will burn up our nutrients much more quickly, especially those that manage our stress, anxiety, and our sense of well-being. Fewer nutrients again means vulnerability to toxins and a whole host of other acute, chronic, and life-threatening illnesses.
Lastly, if we are poisoned, the body is called to function under extremely difficult circumstances. Poisons such as heavy metals and pesticides can reduce the absorption of nutrients and cause cellular and neurological damage. This condition again leads to starved tissues and a stressed and weakened nervous system. As you can see, if you are to some degree stressed, starved, or poisoned, then you must be to the same degree all three.
9. Eliminate Body Stress. In today’s busy society, we all need to learn some form of stress management. Most of us are aware that stress is linked to depression and many other diseases including cancer, heart disease, and lung disease. What many don’t realize is that we can help manage stress with nutritional cleansing.
Stress is emotional and physical. A cleanse can be a good place to start creating a new outlook on life. Why? One reason is that harmful internal toxins are created during times of high stress. When overly excited, angry or afraid, your body releases chemicals throughout. Ever felt butterflies in your stomach every time you think of a certain person or circumstance? This is the release of harmful internal toxins. As these extreme emotions happen to many on a daily basis these chemicals are released daily and build up over time. In turn, not only do you have the daily emotional issues, but now the built up internal toxins add to and hold the pent-up anger and fear. Add to these toxins the chemicals we absorb from our toxic environment.
This is a harmful cycle of creating toxins, then adding more which makes us feel worse so we stress and create more, and so on. Our wellbeing is in jeopardy. On the other hand, many people report feeling more relaxed, happier and less stressed after a cleansing program. Using a cleansing program can assist your body in the elimination of the toxins instead of accumulating them. During a cleanse you not only eliminate the old buildup; but you should consume better quality foods which give you more nutrition. The nutrients of the foods that you eat will determine if your body produces serotonin and dopamine in your brain, which are instrumental for relaxation.
10. Healthy Glowing Skin. Your skin is the largest organ of your body and besides protecting all of your insides from the outside; it also performs several important roles in protecting your health. Most of us are probably aware of its role in temperature control. When we get too warm, we start to perspire, which provides a rapid means of evaporative cooling. What many of us probably don’t realize is that an important detoxification process also happens when we perspire as toxins are released through the skin along with the sweat.
Many traditional tribal cultures have recognized the importance of the skin in protection of health. Indigenous practices have included sweatbaths or heated lodges as part of regular tribal practice. Northern Europeans such as the Scandinavians have also encouraged sweats or saunas as part of their normal health maintenance. Our skin is permeable, and can absorb toxins directly from the environment. But the skin is not only an avenue for the absorption or release of toxins, but a detoxifying agent in its own right. Like the liver and lungs, the skin also has the ability to transform toxins from lipid-soluble, or oil-based compounds, into water-soluble forms, which can then be removed by the kidneys. The skin has the ability to excrete toxins. Certain practices seem to dramatically encourage this process. Body cleansing in addition to regular use of sauna, steambaths, or sweatbaths encourage the discharge of toxins through sweat.
What to do now?
Preventative medicine for a healthy colon is not as popular in Western culture as it is in others. In fact, there are so few people that try and prevent a health problem before it starts that it is a new concept for many. Ironic, as most Americans would never dream of driving their car without getting the proper oil change. They would be shocked at the suggestion that you should just drive until something goes wrong. So why are they so willing to take that attitude with their colon?
One of the most important things you can do to keep a healthy colon is to cleanse your body of toxins, pollutants and impacted fecal matter. The colon is designed to pass food through the digestive tract, where the intestinal walls absorb the nutrients taken in. If there is too much buildup on the colon, the body will not get what it needs to stay healthy.
There are many detoxification on the market but one of the essential components of a cleansing program is being provided with support throughout the process. Going through the process of cleansing with a group of like-minded friends is motivating and beneficial.
Join me during my juice fast! I'd love to hear from you, and if perhaps you'd like to jump in and join me. I'll be posting everyday here on Raw Vegan Radio. We start tomorrow...so join me. Post below, I'd love to hear from you :)